Thune Calls for More Cleared Wireless Spectrum

March 21, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement today in regard to the March 20, 2013, letter sent by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski to Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling indicating the FCC’s intent to auction valuable wireless spectrum currently controlled by the federal government for commercial use:

“I am glad to see the FCC is taking steps to pair and auction together the 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz wireless spectrum bands, and I applaud Commissioner Pai for advocating the FCC use its notify-and-auction authority. This letter begins that process, and Chairman Genachowski has once again shown he clearly understands the tremendous potential of commercial mobile broadband and the importance of making more public resources available to the private sector for development.

“While I am confident in the leadership of Assistant Secretary Strickling to provide an accurate and responsible relocation assessment related to the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands, I urge the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Obama administration to now concentrate their efforts on reallocating the 1755-1780 MHz band for as much exclusive, non-federal use as is feasible. Cleared spectrum is the best way to meet consumer demand and raise revenues needed to relocate current users and reduce the deficit.”

Last week at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Thune called upon the FCC to prioritize making more spectrum available for commercial use as quickly as possible. FCC Chairman Genachowski’s letter is the first step in a process, outlined by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in testimony before the Committee at that hearing, by which the FCC can ultimately auction federal spectrum for commercial use. The letter to Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling, who is also the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), can be found here.